Dear MAS members,
After much soul searching, I am very happy to share with you the news that I have accepted the position of the executive director of the Muslim American Society (national). This decision is likely one of the most important decisions that I have made in my life. I pray to Allah that it will be one of the most blessed. I am very thankful for all those who advised me while considering this decision. Looking back in my life, this may have well been a long time in the making. I have always dreamt about aligning all aspects of my life with what I am passionate about – serving Allah, establishing the Muslim community in America, and contributing to our country.
Deep down, I know that I did this for selfish reasons. I did this because I know that I will be working with, and learning from, some of the most experienced and most passionate people around. I did this because there is so much satisfaction in aligning one’s mission in life with one’s daily action. I did this because of the potential for tremendous reward from Allah in this life and the hereafter. I did this because we are living in an exciting and defining moment for Islam in America, and I want to be part of this blessed endeavor. I did this because I believe that it is time for Muslims to be completely immersed and integrated in the American society.
And I am specifically with MAS, because I am most indebted to MAS for much of my Islamic orientation in life. I came to America when I was 12 years old from Egypt. My understanding and commitment to Islam was shaped in America. In the 90’s there were many different paths that a young Muslim activist can take to channel this commitment. There was a path of isolation and shunning everything around us in society. There was a path of personal knowledge and spirituality without a mandate to give back to society. There was a path of “us versus them”. There was a path of radicalization. There was a path of assimilation, without any grounding in faith. And … there was MAS.
MAS embodies Islam as a moderate religion that is away from extremes. MAS adopts a unique member-development (tarbiya) program that gives rise to strong, balanced and committed individuals. MAS practices elements of organized teamwork that are crucial to fulfill big dreams. MAS promotes an affinity and loyalty to America that is deeply rooted in our faith. MAS helps the individual find balance between spiritual inner peace, rooting in proper knowledge, and activist organizing.
The past few years have been very exciting for many mainstream Muslim organizations in America. A lot of soul searching is happening to re-focus who we are as Muslim Americans. A lot of questions are being asked regarding how we can contribute to many new challenges our country is going through. I am very excited about MAS’ new mission, finalized and approved by the society in 2009 : “To move people to strive for God consciousness, liberty, and justice, and to convey Islam with utmost clarity.” I pray that I will be able to live up to this noble mission.
The challenges that American Muslims face today can be overwhelming. Compared to other minorities in America, our young community is struggling with its institutions to catch up with these enormous challenges. I have a lot of hope that as American Muslims, we will succeed in overcoming these challenges. I have hope in Allah. I have strong belief in Islam. And I am most optimistic about our beautiful country, America, which has welcomed, and continues to welcome, so many.
I know that I have a lot to learn and digest. My first priority, after begging Allah for his help, is to listen attentively to many of you, both inside and outside MAS, in order to understand more fully the national landscape, and actively contribute to the progress we all seek. I ask you to share with me your honest advice regarding this new role. Please email me directly, or feel free to start a conversation directly on the blog.
At the end, please join me in praying that Allah grant us sincerity to work for His Sake so that our work is accepted; to grant us wisdom to identify and carry our responsibilities; to grant us strength to radically change, when change is needed; to shower us with His Mercy; and to bless our country and our ummah. Ameen.
With love, Hossam AlJabri
Read his blog here!